I have to tell you something. You have to start being honest with yourself. I know you don’t want to hear this, but you have been lying to yourself. The sad part? You probably don’t even know you’re doing it.
It’s okay, it’s normal. We all lie to ourselves on some level. We have to find a way to align our values with our actions. We don’t want to feel like we are going against ourselves so we rationalize our actions so that they aren’t as painful.
You have to break this pattern to make real change and live the life you want. You have to take full responsibility for your life and create self-awareness. Without out self-awareness, you don’t have access to make real progress, because you aren’t even aware of the problem.
Here is an example I hear all the time when it comes to weight loss. “I don’t eat that bad.” or “My diets not that bad.” If you are over 30 lbs overweight, your diet has to be “that bad.”
To lose the weight, you have to recognize that your diet is 80% of the equation. You also have to acknowledge that you are the only one that has the power to change anything.
As Nathaniel Branden says, the first step is awareness and the second step is acceptance. Without Self Awareness, you often don’t realize there is anything to change or what’s keeping you from reaching your goals.
How do you cultivate the self-awareness to live the life you want?
Try out these five practices:
1. Have an Accountability Partner, Coach, or Trainer:
One of the best ways to increase awareness is work with a coach or expert in the area of life you would like to change. I have worked with a coach regularly for several years. It’s been invaluable for me because it often shows me parts of my self I don’t want to look at but are necessary for my growth.
When you work with a coach, they can create a safe space for you to be honest with yourself, and at the same time will hold you accountable for achieving the goals you set out. Whenever you get off track, they will guide you back.
Meditation is a fantastic way to start observing your thoughts and actions. It slows down the moment and increases your present awareness. The more you practice meditating, the more you will begin to watch your thoughts as they show up. You can then ask yourself if you would like to change them. I use meditation to review my day and let go of the thoughts and actions that no longer serve me.
3. Clear Goals and Measure Behaviors
If you don’t know where you are going, it doesn’t matter what you do. By having clear goals and outcomes, you will be able to notice if you are getting closer to your goal or not.
One fundamental tenant of this is “You are responsible for everything that happens in your life.” When you take full responsibility, you have the power to change it. If you aren’t getting the results you want, what do you need to change?
From there, measure the behaviors or actions that bring you closer to your goal. I recommend tracking with myfitnesspal for this very reason. It’s less about the tracking, and more about the awareness gained. You have to increase the awareness of what you eat, and how often. You will also learn a ton about the foods you eat regarding calories, fats, carbs, and protein.
Journaling is a great way to review your days, record your thoughts, and answer questions about yourself. People have been journaling their ideas and insights for ages. Use this tool to help you uncover your blind spots and expand your awareness.
I like to use sentence stems. For sentence stems, you create a sentence that you fill in the blank with 5-10 answers that you would want to “uncover.”
The places I need more awareness are …
If I were more aware of this part of my life I …
If I were tapping into the best part of my self, I …
Try them out for yourself and see what you uncover.
5. Interview Friends and Coworkers
Be willing to ask your friends for feedback. Often they can help you see things about yourself that you never really paid attention too. These insights can be tremendously valuable.
Ask five friends the following questions:
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
How do you see me limiting myself?
Make sure to listen fully without defensiveness. They are offering you a gift that can transform your life. Just say “Thank you for caring enough to share this with me.”
Real change requires you to be honest with yourself. Once you are, the awareness you develop will allow you to create change anything you want if you take 100% responsibility for it.
I just gave you five powerful ways to start cultivating self-awareness. You now have the choice of whether you will do something with it or not. The choice to live powerfully or not. To live your dreams or not. What will you choose?
Leave a comment on the practice you are going to commit to in the next week. I can’t wait to hear from you.